Pacific Connections: Phase 1
Groundbreaking for the first phase of Pacific Connections occurred in October 2007, following a $2.2 million gift from the Arboretum Foundation to Seattle Parks and Recreation, which oversaw project construction. The first phase includes the creation of the central welcoming meadow; an open-walled interpretive shelter with green roof; five entry gardens leading to the main forest gardens; and the grading, pathways, and retaining walls for the Cascadia forest.
The design for the Phase 1 of the garden was developed by The Portico Group, a firm that also played an important role in the creation of the Arboretum Master Plan. The Issaquah-based Pomegranate Center carved the cedar support columns for the Interpretive Shelter in a series of public workshops in fall 2007.
Construction of the Phase 1 was completed in fall 2008, and the opening celebration was held on September 19th. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and UW Provost Phyllis Wise were present to help dedicate the new garden.
The Entry Gardens
Situated around the perimeter of an open meadow, the entry gardens showcase horticultural plants from China, Chile, Cascadia, New Zealand, and Australia and offer visitors a preview of what they’ll eventually find in the five eco-geographic forests of the finished Pacific Connections Garden. Interpretive signage in the entry gardens focuses on “iconic plants” that have particular cultural importance for each of the five regions: western red cedar (Thuja plicata) for Cascadia; monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) for Chile; snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) for Australia; ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) for China; and New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) for New Zealand.
Download the UW Botanic Gardens audio tour of the Pacific Connections entry gardens.
Learn much more about the plants and design elements of Phase 1 in the following articles reprinted from the Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin.
- Enter the Entry Gardens, by Niall Dunne and Randall Hitchin
- The New Pacific Connections Garden Interpretive Shelter, by Elizabeth Loudon